Eszter Simor

Thesis title: Absurd Black Humour as Social Criticism in Contemporary European Cinema


2016 - present: PhD Film Studies, University of Edinburgh

2012 - 2016: MA Film Studies, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary

2005 - 2012: MA English Language and Literature - Media (double major), ELTE, Budapest, Hungary

2008 - 2012: BA Film Theory and History, ELTE, Budapest, Hungary

2009 - 2010: Erasmus Exchange Program, Department of English Language, Ludwig - Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Undergraduate teaching

Course Tutor for Introduction to European Cinema

Research summary

My research investigates how contemporary films that establish an absurd worldview to express social criticism can be read as evidence of, as well as a response to, political or social crisis. The thesis has two focal points. The first considers a broader relationship between film and reality: how does film as an art form relate to real-world cultural and political developments? The second focal point is a study of ways in which the comic and the absurd are represented on screen.

Current research interests

• Humour and Film • Film and Politics • European Cinema • Irony in Film

Past research interests

Previous Research Projects: Genre-bending in contemporary Korean cinema, article accepted by the peer-reviewed journal Asian Cinema; MA Film Studies Thesis: Texts and Sounds in Béla Tarr films; MA English Language and Literature Thesis: The 'Victims' of Stanley Kubrick's Adaptations: 20th Century English Utopias on Screen

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

News From Home Film Festival

(Free Film Festival in November with drinks reception)

“The only thing worth globalizing is dissent” – Arundhati Roy   

The News from Home Film Festival is an initiative created by four PhD students to explore contemporary films depicting the marginalization of cultures and individuals in the face of globalization. The festival takes place across four Thursdays in November beginning on Thursday 8th November 2018. Each screening is free (for both students and non-students) and is followed by a drinks reception.


Kotoko (2011, Shinya Tsukamoto, Japan) – 8 November, 18:00

Pilgrim Hill (2013, Gerard Barrett, Ireland) – 15 November, 18:00

Jeune Femme (2017, Léonor Serraille, France) – 22 November, 18:00

On Body and Soul (2017, Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary) – 29 November, 18:00

Dates: Thursdays: 8, 15, 22, 29 November 2018

Time: 6 pm – 9:30 pm (screenings followed by drinks reception)

Location: The Screening Room G.04, 50 George Square, UoE

Get a free ticket on Eventbrite

Organized by Chantal Bertalanffy, Eszter Simor, François Giraud, Richard Elliott

Current project grants

Supported by Innovative Initiative Grant and LLC Student Led Initiative Grant

Conference details

Film-Philosophy Conference 2018: Presenter

University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 07/2018

Presented a paper titled Magic and Irony as Subversive Political Engagement in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer

NECS (European Network of Cinema and Media Studies) Conference 2018: Presenter

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 06/2018

Presented a paper titled The Absurd as Subversive Political Engagement in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope

Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, 2nd Year Symposium: Presenter

University of Glasgow, UK, 06/2018 

Presented a paper titled Alienation and the Absurd as Subversive Engagement in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope